Calcutta: Social Activist and Waterman of India- Rajendra Singh has accused Narendra Modi of doing nothing for the river Ganga in a critical state over the past four-years since BJP came to power.
“While blood circulation is the issue with the Ganga’s health, the government is treating its teeth,” the Magsaysay winner and former member of the National Ganga River Basin Authority told The Telegraph.
He said that the real problems like pollution, encroachment of land remained backburner while only moves to beautify the river were taken up.
Singh is visiting Bengal as part of his Ganga Sadbhavana Yatra, which will cover 2,250km in 11 states through which the Ganga flows.
“The biggest problem is this Prime Minister and his supporters have reinforced an impression that the Ganga is a river for Hindus. This is divisive politics. The Ganga is for all religions and faiths,” Singh said.
“Before becoming Prime Minister, Modi had said he is the son of the Ganga. He had made several promises for its rejuvenation and said he would fix the issue in three months. All of us were quite hopeful but he basically did nothing in the last four-and-a-half years for the Ganga, particularly about the stopping of four dams in the upper part of the river despite several representations,” the activist said.
“He has only given a ministry in the name of the Ganga and thousands of crores of rupees that led to more corruption and were hardly used for the benefit of the Ganga which is in a critical state,” he added.
He also recalled the scientist turned sadhu G.D. Agrawal who fought for Ganga’s cause lost his life fasting to make the river flow continuous and pollution-free.
The Activist, however, praised former PM Manmohan Singh for taking an initiative to stop three dams on the Ganga even when they were 60 percent complete, and also for declaring a 150km stretch as “no development area” after environmentalists had made the demand.
“Woh bolte nahin the, kaam karte the… woh concerned the, yeh concerned nahin hain (He talked little but did his work, he was concerned but not this one),” Singh said referring to Congress party.
“We have started this yatra to emphasize the need for the revival of the Ganga’s natural flow, which should be continuous and pollution-free. Moreover, we also want to point out that all have equal rights over the Ganga,” Rajendra Singh said.
The Ganga Sadbhavana Yatra initiated from Gomukh in October is set to conclude on January 12 at Ganga Sagar and the major demands of the yatra include halting the progress of four dams on the upper reaches of the river basin — one each on the Alakananda, Mandakini, Pinjal and Dhauliganga rivers as well as a clear directive against new dams and barrages on the Ganga.